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NCC begins arrest of SIM agents violating ‘Controlled Environment Registration’ policy

In keeping with its latest SIM registration policy known as ‘Controlled Environment Registration’ (CER), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced arrest of agents operating contrary to the terms and conditions of the policy.

Explaining more on the regulation during an enforcement drive around Gwarimpa suburb of Abuja, the commission’s head of enforcement unit, Mr. Salisu Abdu said NCC had earlier issued a directive on November 2016, to all mobile operators to from February 1, 2017 provide a controlled environment for registration of SIM cards or face N5million sanction.

He said “This controlled environment means a permanent structure; a structure that can be traced, a location that can identified and also that the registration agent manning this centres are expected to have identity as well.

“Today, in view of the fact that deadline has ended on February 2, the NCC team is going to ensure that no any agent are doing the registration outside the controlled environment. We went to Gwanrimpa Gate and some other places around the place. All the three we arrested today were doing the registration in a controlled environment; they were doing that under umbrellas and in kiosks.”

On the features of a controlled environment, Abdu said the particular registration area must be clearly delineated for that purpose; it must be a permanent structure; a building and must have the logo of the operator and others.

Continuing, he said “As at the moment, we have arrested three violators and seven registration machines are impounded. So further investigation would be conducted by the Nigeria Police and I believe through we will able to trace the dealers who have assigned the agents. Contradiction of the directive would attract N5million per day and as long as you refuse to pay the N5m you be incurring addition N500,000 each day”.

Salisu was however, silent on when the enforcement will go nationwide or if it will be only in Abuja.

But analysts faulted the enforcement drive, saying the best way to tame the illegal registration centres is to sanction networks that give out SIM cards to agents who have no marked and definable area of registration.

According to them, arresting an illegal SIM card dealer without holding the networks responsible is an enforcement oversight and punishing an offender leaving his key accomplices which are the networks.

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